Administrative Assistant: Job Description, Skills and Salary (Updated!)

Administrative Assistant
Table of Contents Hide
  1. Who is an Administrative Assistant?
  2. Duties and Responsibilities of an Administrative Assistant
  3. Administrative Assistant Competencies & Skills
    1. #1. Computer and software knowledge:
    2. #2. Multitasking skills:
    3. #3. Communication Skills
    4. #4. Interpersonal skills
    5. #5. Organizational abilities
    6. #6. Decision-making abilities:
  4. Administrative Assistant Salary Scale
  5. Average Administrative Assistant Salary in Relation to Other Best Jobs
  6. Education, Training, and Certification Requirements .
    1. Job Prospects
    2. Workplace Environment
    3. Work Schedule
  7. How to Land a Job as an Administrative Assistant
    1. #1. Get Outstanding Recommendations
    2. #2. Apply your Network
    3. #3. Search for Openings
    4. #4. Perfect your Resume
    5. #5. Go for an Interview
  8. How may a Resume be used to Assess a Candidate’s Administrative Assistant Qualifications?
  9. What Skills do Interviewers Look for when Hiring Administrative Assistant Positions?
    1. #1. Communication Skills:
    2. #2. Organizational skills:
    3. #3. Collaboration skills:
    4. #4. Computer skills:
  10. Administrative Assistant Interview Questions
    1. #1. What Organizational Tools Do You Use?
    2. #2. Describe a situation in which you erred. How did you accept responsibility for your error, and what did you learn as a result?
    3. #3. How Do You Manage Multiple High-Priority Projects?
    4. #4. What computer programs and software do you feel most at ease with?
    5. #5. How would you handle a project in which you are stuck?
    6. #6. What was your most significant contribution to a previous team you worked with?
    7. #7. Tell me about a time when you had to use discretion.
    8. #8. Tell me about a time when you had a disagreement with a supervisor or a coworker. What happened, and how did you deal with it?
    9. #9. What distinguishes you from other candidates?
    10. #10. What is your ideal working environment?
  11. Administrative Assistant FAQ’s
  12. What does an administrative assistant do day to day?
  13. What is another title for administrative assistant?
  14. How do you list administrative skills on a resume?
    1. Related Articles

An executive is sometimes considered to be only as good as their administrative assistant, also known as an administrative professional, executive assistant, secretary, or personal assistant.
An admin assistant is the “eyes and ears” of a firm, handling day-to-day administration for one or more executives, a team, or a network. They have unique and powerful insights into the company culture, performance, and future direction. In this post we’ll discuss the skills, educational requirements and salary of an administrative assistant.

Who is an Administrative Assistant?

Administrative assistants are in charge of conducting and directing an organization’s day-to-day administrative duties. This critical function assists management and/or the office staff by answering incoming communications, distributing postal correspondence, performing general administrative duties such as filing, printing or photocopying, data entry, and other ad hoc duties.

Administrative workers are extremely important to the seamless operation of a business, team, or office. An administrative assistant is often the first hiring outside of the founding team for many organizations, with many CEOs relying on the skills of their assistants to accomplish their jobs efficiently.

Duties and Responsibilities of an Administrative Assistant

An Administrative Assistant’s primary duties and responsibilities concentrate around assisting others. Their job duties can change greatly, not only from job to job, but also from day to day at the same job. They may undertake a range of jobs on any one day, including:

  • Answer phones and welcome visitors
  • Schedule appointments and keep calendars up to date.
  • Schedules and coordinates staff and other meetings.
  • Collects and distributes mails. .
  • Prepare memos, emails, bills, reports, and other correspondence as needed.
  • Create and modify documents ranging from letters to reports and educational materials.
  • Create and maintain both electronic and physical filing systems.
  • Manages accounts and bookkeeping.

Administrative Assistant Competencies & Skills

To be a successful administrative assistant, you’ll need a few key skills.

#1. Computer and software knowledge:

You should be familiar with Microsoft Office, email, and the internet. If you work for a small business, you may need to be familiar with QuickBooks or other accounting software applications.

#2. Multitasking skills:

This is especially vital if you are also a manager. You should be able to handle multiple demands at the same time. .

#3. Communication Skills

Communication skills, both verbal and written, are crucial. You should have a strong knowledge of the English language and excellent proofreading skills.

#4. Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are required because you will be working with others, including clients and office workers. Good etiquette and a calm temperament can go a long way.

#5. Organizational abilities

You must be detail-oriented and organized, with the ability to locate a document or recall a protocol at a moment’s notice.

#6. Decision-making abilities:

You’ll frequently find yourself handling numerous things virtually concurrently, especially in busy offices, so you should be able to prioritize and make time-effective decisions. A client may request an appointment immediately away, but does he truly need it right away or can it wait a few days?

Administrative Assistant Salary Scale

The nature of the business where an administrative assistant works, as well as the breadth of duties, might influence salary. The highest administrative assistant salary is given to those who serve as executives.

  • Annual Median Salary of Administrative Assistant: $40,990 ($19.71/hour)
  • The Annual Salary of Administrative Assistant in the Top 10%: More than $67,510 ($2.46/hour)
  • Annual Salary of Administrative Assistant in the Bottom 10%: Less than $26,880 ($12.92/hour)

Average Administrative Assistant Salary in Relation to Other Best Jobs

Administrative Assistant earned an average salary of $39,180 in 2019. In 2019, comparable positions earned the following average salary: Executive Assistants earned $62,920 per year, Customer Service Representatives earned $37,320 per year, Office Clerks earned $36,360 per year, and Receptionists earned $31,250 per year.

Education, Training, and Certification Requirements .

This career does not necessitate any specific advanced education, however, it can be advantageous.

A high school diploma or the equivalent is required, and you can gain an advantage in the profession by enrolling in an associate degree program or a secretarial training program following high school. In a growing number of industries, secretaries frequently hold bachelor’s degrees or specialty-focused certifications such as the Accredited Legal Secretary or the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant. Executive assistants and secretaries should have at least a few college credits, if not a bachelor’s degree.

Consider beginning your training with a temporary work agency. These organizations occasionally provide training to new recruits. Otherwise, if you have basic secretarial or administrative skills, you may be given on-the-job training as you learn the ins and outs of a particular firm or sector.

Job Prospects

Unfortunately, the job prognosis for this position is not promising. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, technology developments will begin to take over many administrative assistants’ duties between 2019 and 2029, resulting in a 9% reduction in job growth.

Workplace Environment

Almost every industry requires this position. You could work at a medical office, a law office, a government office, or for a small, local contractor. In any case, you’ll most likely be working in an office.

Because virtual assistants are becoming increasingly in demand, you may be able to work from home.

Work Schedule

This is nearly always a full-time job during normal business hours, but the nature of the business, such as if you work for a medical clinic, may necessitate some weekend labor. Furthermore, those in the legal profession may be asked to work long hours in preparation of trials and deadlines.

How to Land a Job as an Administrative Assistant

#1. Get Outstanding Recommendations

Employers seeking for a secretary or administrative assistant want someone they can work with comfortably, who will fit in with the rest of the team, and who can be trusted with sensitive information. These qualities can be demonstrated through strong letters of recommendation.

#2. Apply your Network

Use your network to find out about job openings. Contact your Facebook and LinkedIn acquaintances, as well as family members, neighbors, and old employers. Inform them that you would enjoy being introduced to anyone who might be recruiting.

#3. Search for Openings

To find job openings, use keywords like administrative assistant, marketing assistant, editorial assistant, medical secretary, legal secretary, and office assistant in a Google search. Many administrative jobs will also be advertised in the employment section of your local newspaper’s or Chamber of Commerce’s website.

#4. Perfect your Resume

This sample resume can serve as a reference and ensure that all of the best keywords are included. Don’t forget the importance of a superb cover letter to go with it.

#5. Go for an Interview

Knowing what you’re likely to be asked ahead of time will help you ace your interview. Consider some typical sample questions and plan your responses ahead of time.

How may a Resume be used to Assess a Candidate’s Administrative Assistant Qualifications?

Follow these methods to see if a candidate is a suitable fit for your Administrative Assistant position:

  • Make a list of the responsibilities that your Administrative Assistant must be capable of performing.
  • Examine your job description and the administrative assistant position’s highlighted skills.
  • To establish compatibility, compare the skills listed on their resume to those listed in your job description.
  • Examine their part on work experience. Previous experience as an Administrative Assistant or in a related capacity such as a Receptionist or Office Assistant can be advantageous. Their relevant work experience may decide whether they are qualified for the job.
  • Check to see if their educational background can help them in their position as an Administrative Assistant. A candidate with an associate degree in business administration and certificates in Outlook, Excel, and professional assistance, for example, indicates their eligibility.

What Skills do Interviewers Look for when Hiring Administrative Assistant Positions?

Companies look for applicants with excellent soft skills, rather than a specific amount of years of experience or a technical background, for entry- and mid-level administrative assistant positions.
Hiring managers are often seeking for people that can communicate effectively, solve problems imaginatively, and remain on top of endless minutiae in order to assist the team and help everyone drive the organization ahead.

The following are the most important skills that recruiting managers look for in administrative assistant applicants :

#1. Communication Skills:

As an administrative assistant, you will engage with personnel at all levels throughout the organization. It is critical to communicate in a collaborative, professional, and successful manner. Hiring managers prioritize candidates with great communication skills because they understand how well an administrative assistant communicates may have a significant impact on the organization.

#2. Organizational skills:

In this capacity, you will be in charge of organizing calendars, planning events, project management, and meeting other deadlines. The smallest things are crucial. When your executive misses a meeting, money may be at stake. Keeping an admin organized aids the firm in meeting its objectives.

#3. Collaboration skills:

As an administrative assistant, you will collaborate with your manager or managers, as well as people from other departments, to keep things moving smoothly and to complete projects on time. You must be able to do this efficiently.

#4. Computer skills:

A large part of an administrative assistant’s job involves using a computer, whether it’s to check or write emails, manage calendars, or create PowerPoint presentations. However, computer skills may be learned on the job, whereas communication skills are far more difficult to teach. So, if this is your weak place, don’t freak out! You can still get a wonderful job if you demonstrate your willingness and ability to learn.

As you prepare to answer questions for an administrative assistant interview, keep these skills in mind. Working them in where they make sense will help you cement your position as the greatest applicant in the eyes of a recruiter or hiring manager.

Administrative Assistant Interview Questions

  1. What Organizational Tools Do You Use?
  2. Describe a situation in which you erred. How did you accept responsibility for your error, and what did you learn as a result?
  3. What computer programs and software do you feel most at ease with?
  4. What would you do if you were stuck on a project?
  5. Tell me about a time when you had to exercise discretion.
  6. What was your most significant contribution to a previous team you worked with?
  7. What distinguishes you from other candidates?
  8. Tell me about a time when you had a disagreement with a boss or a coworker. What happened, and how did you deal with it?
  9. What is your ideal working environment?
  10. How Do You Balance Conflicting High-Priority Projects?

#1. What Organizational Tools Do You Use?

Administrative assistants are expected to be the most organized individual in the office by hiring managers. Staying organized is vital to doing the work properly, whether it’s organizing meetings, meeting deadlines, or having documentation ready at a moment’s notice. Organizational tools, such as Google Calendar, Asana, and other project management software, can help you flourish in this capacity, so don’t be hesitant to mention your knowledge of them.

Staying organized entails more than just knowing where every file is. “Managing calendars may appear straightforward, but it has a significant impact on a company and can be difficult. “The administrator must use solid judgment and drive the proper priorities,” says Treena Diebolt, Peloton’s VP of Global Talent Attraction.

How to Respond

Consider what project management, organizing, and calendaring tools you have used in previous employment or in your own life before your interview. Prepare to describe how you use the tools to stay organized, such as Asana’s daily email that notifies everyone on a project of an imminent deadline.

#2. Describe a situation in which you erred. How did you accept responsibility for your error, and what did you learn as a result?

Even the best administrative assistants make mistakes since no one is perfect. Hiring managers understand this and want to know how you will admit an error, find a solution immediately, and learn from it in order to prevent making similar mistakes in the future.

How to Respond

You should bring a real-life example of a situation in which you committed a mistake. Take some time to think about what went wrong, why it happened, and what you did to fix it. Finally, talk about what you learned and what you’ll do differently next time to prevent making the same mistake.

To best explain your tale and ensure you convey all of the crucial facts, use the STAR approach to build your answer (to this and other behavioral questions). STAR is an abbreviation that stands for:

  • Set the scenario and provide any required details.
  • Describe what you were in charge of in this instance.
  • Action: Describe the steps you took to address it.
  • Share the outcomes of your actions.

#3. How Do You Manage Multiple High-Priority Projects?

Some administrative assistants report to many supervisors; others may have a broad scope of responsibilities, which means they are in charge of a large number of high-priority tasks. Managers ask this question to learn how a candidate manages their time and uses their judgment to prioritize assignments.

How to Respond

You should demonstrate your ability to juggle several projects, whether they are work or school-related, by discussing how you split your time and prioritize among various initiatives. This is also a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate your decision-making skills.

#4. What computer programs and software do you feel most at ease with?

Hiring managers don’t mind if you undertake some computer training, but they want to see that you have some familiarity with diverse applications and are willing to learn any other programs required on the job.

People looking for administrative assistants frequently ask for knowledge with Microsoft Office Suite, particularly PowerPoint, to enable them create internal or external presentations for the team. According to Stephanie Naznitsky, executive director of OfficeTeam, a division of Robert Half that specializes in placing highly skilled office and administrative professionals, hiring managers may want a candidate who is proficient in social media, can manage online conferencing, is skilled in document creation, or has experience using collaboration software, depending on the job.

How to Respond

You should be prepared to identify the applications you’ve used in the past and explain your level of familiarity with each. They will utilize different software depending on the organization, so read the job description to see what they are looking for. If no specific applications are mentioned, emphasize well-known software such as Salesforce, Slack, G Suite, or Microsoft Teams. You can also highlight the programs you learned the fastest, demonstrating that even if you haven’t utilized a program that this team relies on, you’re a quick and eager learner who could readily pick it up.

#5. How would you handle a project in which you are stuck?

A stressed or overburdened boss may entrust a project to an administrative assistant without properly clarifying the objectives or the expected process. Hiring managers are seeking an administrative assistant who will take the initiative and ask for assistance rather than complete the project carelessly.

How to Respond

Outline the steps you’d follow and your thoughts on obtaining help. You should first explain how you would conduct your own research and problem-solving. You can also discuss utilizing other resources and connections within the organization, such as locating examples of comparable projects conducted in the past or reaching out to someone you know has done similar work in the past. Then, explain how you would seek clarification from your management if necessary.

You should state that as the administrator, you are aware of your manager’s schedule and are aware of when they are unavailable, according to Naznitsky. Then you might say, “Either utilize your one-on-one meeting or book time to ask for clarification.” Booking ten minutes now can save you hours of pointless work or wasted time later.”

#6. What was your most significant contribution to a previous team you worked with?

Administrative assistants can excel at event planning, project management, and organizational efforts that help a team work more efficiently. While administrative assistants have specific tasks, they are frequently asked to take on additional projects or “fill the hole” if something needs to be performed but no one else can. Hiring managers look for applicants that can collaborate well with others and contribute to their team’s overall performance.

How to Respond

Prepare to talk about a major project or a significant contribution you’ve made to previous teams you’ve worked on. Consider any large group project you completed in a class or as part of an extracurricular group if you are more entry-level.

When selecting a project to explain, choose something that you are enthusiastic about so that your hobbies, best attributes, and personality may shine through. “Think about what you enjoyed the most, [then] make simple bullet points to describe what it was, what was expected of you, and the innovative ideas you came up with, and then describe the outcome,” Naznitsky advises. Prepare to explain how you spearheaded or contributed to the project, took care of your responsibilities, and completed the project on time. Then, summarize how this aided the team’s growth or achievement of its objectives.

#7. Tell me about a time when you had to use discretion.

Administrative assistants frequently aid in the management of a company’s communication, scheduling, and other initiatives without leaking details to the full crew. Meanwhile, the rest of the staff frequently views administrative assistants as a peer to confide in, which can help the organization run better but also demands administrative assistants to exercise their judgment in certain scenarios.

How to Respond

Use discretion when responding to a question concerning discretion. Divulging all of the details of the problem will harm you and demonstrate that you do not know when to withhold information in order to protect your company or your coworkers.

“Think about this ahead of time, because revealing too many facts doesn’t demonstrate discretion!” advises Julie Perrine, founder and CEO of All Things Admin, a training firm for administrative workers. It takes practice to talk about a problem broadly while still providing enough detail to make your point.

If you are an entry-level candidate, hiring managers may ignore this question, but if it is asked of you, think of a club you were a member of in college and give an example from there.

#8. Tell me about a time when you had a disagreement with a supervisor or a coworker. What happened, and how did you deal with it?

Disagreements and confrontations in the workplace are unavoidable. Because you engage with a large number of employees as an administrative assistant, the risk of a disagreement forming is increased. Hiring managers use this question to determine your ability to self-reflect, self-analyze and learn from previous experiences.

How to Respond

“Do not respond, ‘I never have conflict, and I get along with everyone.’ That is nonsense. Everyone is at odds with someone. Please tell me a story. “How did you handle it?” Vasquez explains. If hiring managers ask this question, they don’t care if the disagreement occurred; they want to hear what you did to resolve it and continue working without having to deal with it again.

You can use issues from outside work for entry-level candidates, such as a quarrel during the sorority recruitment process or a classmate failing to carry their weight during a group project. Prepare to explain what happened, where the issue arose, and how you reached a solution, or how you decided to go on if it couldn’t be resolved. Never make fun of a coworker or a previous boss. Instead, concentrate on how you used your creativity to reach that conclusion and what you learned as a result.

Practice your response so that you can eliminate part of the emotion while delivering a tale about a tense or upsetting scenario.

#9. What distinguishes you from other candidates?

Hiring managers want to know what your biggest assets and skills are, and how they are unique to you, therefore they ask this question.

How to Respond

Before the interview, you should think about your strengths. Begin by carefully reading the job description and determining which talent or skills the hiring manager is searching for and which you most exemplify. Give a specific example of how these skills have benefited a team you’ve previously been a part of.

#10. What is your ideal working environment?

During an interview, hiring managers must determine not only whether a prospect has the essential skills to flourish as an administrative assistant, but also whether the individual will work well with the existing team. What the manager is searching for will be determined by the company’s workplace atmosphere.

How to Respond

Prepare for your interview by researching the firm you’ll be interviewing with ahead of time so you grasp its values and culture. If you discover that your aims are similar to theirs during your investigation, you will be able to respond more passionately. Make an honest response here. If you enjoy working with others, let them know.

On the other hand, if you’re a worker who prefers to work alone and with your head down, describe that. No matter how strongly you desire the job, if the culture isn’t right, you won’t like working there in the long run.

Hiring managers prefer candidates who communicate well, so practicing how to respond to common interview questions can help you feel prepared, confident, and ready to explain why you are the perfect candidate for this administrative assistant position.

Administrative Assistant FAQ’s

What does an administrative assistant do day to day?

An administrative assistant’s day-to-day responsibilities include arranging several calendars, accepting phone calls and messages, sending emails, preparing for large meetings and presentations, taking notes in meetings, and a variety of other related chores.

What is another title for administrative assistant?

Some companies use the terms “secretaries” and “administrative assistants” interchangeably.

How do you list administrative skills on a resume?

Put your administrative skills in a separate area of your resume to draw attention to them. Include examples of your skills in action throughout your resume, including the work experience section and resume profile. Mention both soft and hard skills to appear well-rounded.

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